Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, has welcomed the relatively smooth payment process of social grants in the early days of the month of August.
“The South African Post Office (SAPO) has assisted 1.6 million beneficiaries and processed about three million social grant payments with minimal glitches. This number is almost double that of beneficiaries who were paid through the SAPO network for the entire month of July,” Cwele said.
SAPO is expected to pay about 2.5 million beneficiaries this month.
Minister Cwele spent the day monitoring the payment of social grants in Shoshanguve in Tshwane and Sebokeng in Sedibeng, Johannesburg on Wednesday.
On Thursday, he visited the pay point stations in Tembisa, while Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu interacted with beneficiaries in Sebokeng and Evaton.
The monitoring visits are in line with the public commitment made by members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Comprehensive Social Security last month, to continue to monitor the payment of social grants in selected areas throughout the county.
“I observed payments at SA Post Office branches, ATMs (automated teller machine), merchants and at a pay point where SAPO is piloting the cash payment of social grants. I am happy that people received their grants.
“This is significant because we have worked with all partners in the payment value chain to overcome the challenges which led to some beneficiaries not being paid on the first day in July,” the Minister said.
Cwele also commended efforts by SAPO and South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA) officials, who started working earlier than normal to pay the beneficiaries and assist those who need to swap their old cards for new ones.
“Social grants are paid to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. It was heartening to observe the dignity with which the payments were made. I appeal to all involved to work on improving the system so that beneficiaries do not spend long periods waiting in queues,” Cwele said.
Payments disrupted by criminal incidents
Meanwhile, payments were delayed is some areas over the past two days, due to criminal incidents.
This resulted in beneficiaries in those areas being paid late or being transported to the nearest service point.
The Minister said the department is working closely with the police to investigate the incidents and to avoid such acts happening in future.
“The payment of social grants is a national priority. We warn the perpetrators of these incidents that the government does not tolerate their blatant disregard of the plight of our poor and the rule of law,” Cwele said.
He encouraged beneficiaries to continue swapping their old cards to new ones this month, as government is migrating the payment of social grants to a hybrid model which includes SAPO and other financial services institutions.
Beneficiaries who have not yet switched to the new gold card must go to a SASSA office, pay-points or Post Offices listed as card swap outlets to migrate. – SAnews.gov.za